Saturday, May 7, 2011

Great Choice

" I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all."   (Ephesians 4:1-6) NRSV

We live in a world where anything goes. Things we counted on suddenly change. People break their promises. What we thought was true turns out to be false.  At times it seems that there's little to hold on to any more. But life doesn't have to be that way.  

We have one great choice. The choice is Jesus. He doesn't change. Jesus never breaks his promises. His words always prove to be true.  You can hold on to him. You can also hold on to the cross. Jesus died on the cross for one reason - He loves you. After Jesus died and came back to life, he made a commitment to you.  He promised never to leave you or forsake you. Jesus has kept his promise and always will.  You can bet your life on it. Jesus only asks for one thing: for you to make the same kind of promise to him.  

Committing yourself to Jesus doesn't mean you won't have any tough times. But it does mean you'll have some help when you do. But you can't do it halfway.  You've got to give it your all.  And don’t forget you have a large family here to support you and help you in your walk with Christ, through Sunday school, Sunday Worship, Youth, Bible study, retreats, and mission trips.

Friday, May 6, 2011

This time of year...numbers go down

After Spring Break and Easter across the world of Youth Ministry numbers seem to go down.  Why?
Some say its because its the end of the year and students have more homework and projects.  Others say that after Easter everyone just becomes busy.  Others blame it on spring fever.  Others blame it on the warm weather.

Every year I have seen our youth ministry numbers go up in January and February and then in April and May they decline.  I hear every "excuse" from sports to homework to forgetting we had youth.   It amazes me how teens and parents just take a break from God when the weather gets warm.  But without a doubt when we start doing "fun" events in June, the numbers go back.  Is it because they get fired up about Pentecost and are ready for church activities again or is it that they have nothing better to do in the summer and so church is the natural hang out spot?

This is just a question I was wrestling with last week with a friend in ministry and wanted to see everyone else's opinion.

Hebrews 10:25 "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Copy Cats on FB, Twitter, and Ministry..

The other night I posted this on my Twitter account and FB account.

I dislike when people tweet other people's tweets and not include RT ...   

Just a small pet peeve that I have.  But I also see it in ministry all the time.  I see it in blog posts, hear it at times in podcasts, and have also heard it live in sermons.  And this is nothing new.  I just don't understand why people have to be copycats instead of just saying they heard it somewhere and give the original author the credit.

Why is this so hard?
Why do we have to try to look like the smart person?
And what do we do if we get caught?  I've seen it happen and the person just said, "Oh it was in my nights, I was just in the zone and I forgot to quote them."

I've seen and heard several pastors give entire messages of Andy Stanley's, Doug Fields, Francis Chan, and even Billy Graham where they failed to quote and claim it for their own.  I use other pastors material from time to time, but I make sure to give the brothers credit.  And I hope that you do the same.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Event Based or Bible Based Summer?

Over the past fourteen summers I have been part of both Even Based Youth Summer Ministry Programs and Bible Based Summer Youth Programs.

Event Based Youth Summer Ministry Programs consists of one retreat after another and having an event every Sunday and Wednesday.  Its all about keeping busy and doing cool things.  I've seen this where this has helped youth groups grow by having more non-threatening events to allow students to bring their friends and become part of the group.

Bible Based Summer Youth Programs consists of one continuing to have Sunday night programing and small groups during the summer.  I have seen groups become very solid during the summer as they got ready to start the new school year.

Both have worked in different seasons at different churches for me and other youth pastor friends.  I have also seen both wear out adult volunteers, youth pastors, and families.

I have also seen where youth programs shut down for the summer and the only events they have are their summer camp and their mission trip.

This summer, my adults and I discerned for our group that on Sunday nights we would have fun activities all around Columbia, SC and on Wednesday nights we would continue small groups during the summer.

So what does your youth group do during the summer months?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What if #lovewins with #OBL?

So for the past 48 hours I have watched many Christians, pastors, non-Christians, and others put their two cents in about Osama Bin Laden.  I've seen the blogs, the tweets, the facebook posts, the photoshop pictures, and the news stories.   I really debated about writing this post.  I wrote it originally yesterday but held it until tonight.

Really if you look at all the post.  Some said it was all about justice.  That it was the ultimate consequence for being behind the number of terror attacks.  Others went with that but also said that it made the world a safer place with him being killed.  While others said that this could put us in more danger and cause more deadly attacks.

Some of my twitter and facebook friends were very patriotic and very happy.  Others were somber.  Some misquoted MLK and others.

While looking at all these I just had the thought of what if Osama was visited last week by a missionary or was given a Gideon Bible?  What if sometime during the last week, Osama was like the thief on the cross and changed his life and gave it over to Christ during his last moments.  What if God's Love won over the face of terror?   What if after everything is declassified we find out that Osama became saved?

How would the media react?
How would Christians act?
How would non-Christians act?

Just a thought...

"I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways & live. "
-Ez 33:11